Lions' pride pulls out win with 2:04 left, 10-9 Liberty's Evans shows way in defeat of Westminster

Girls lacrosse

April 18, 1997|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Sometimes pride can take over and win a game.

Liberty senior Kari Evans, a first-team All-County performer last season and three-year starter, knows all about the Lions' rich tradition.

So when the young Lions, going after their eighth straight county title, were having problems against a solid Westminster team last night, Evans was the one who stepped up.

Her four goals and a key assist on Jen Berarducci's game-winning goal with two minutes left provided the Lions with a 10-9 win over the Owls, who deserved better.

"We're young and make mistakes. Kari needs to play big. At halftime, I told her to take control, and she did it," said Liberty coach Courtney Vaughn. "The pride we have in the program comes through for us, and the good teams find a way to win."

Going up against the perennial county champ is tough enough. Doing it without your only goalie makes it that much tougher.

That's what Westminster (5-3, 1-1 in the county) was faced with after goalie Lisa Duke injured a thumb during warm-ups. The next question for Westminster coach Suzanne Peters was who would replace her. The answer was senior center Meghan Smith, who played valiantly in making five saves in her first appearance in goal.

"She never played in goal until 10 minutes to 7. I'm proud of her and proud of how the team rallied around her," Peters said.

Three goals from Amy Bittinger helped give the Owls a 4-2 lead before the Lions got goals from Evans and Trish Young in the last minute of the first half to get even at 4.

Liberty (6-2, 1-1) took a 7-6 lead -- its first of the game -- with 11 minutes left in the game when Evans shot a rocket past Smith from 12 yards out.

Westminster called timeout and followed with three unanswered goals -- the last a nifty no-look goal from Sarah Palaia to give the Owls a 9-7 lead with 8:30 left.

But it was all Lions the rest of the way.

Freshman Jessica Roguski dodged three Westminster defenders to get the Lions within one. Evans shook free in the middle and went high to beat Smith to tie the game at 9 with 6: 51 left.

The game-winner came when Evans, stationed behind the net, found a cutting Berarducci with 2: 04 left.

"When we're down, it's my turn to step up as a senior leader," Evans said. "We have a young team, but there's a lot of talent. We still feel confident. We just need to work on our passing and catching."

After taking the 10-9 lead, Liberty won the draw and ran down some clock, but the Owls had one last chance when Bittinger had a restart in the Lions end. But the Lions' defense closed in and knocked the ball loose, with Roguski picking it up and running out the clock.

Pub Date: 4/18/97

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